Defining luxury is a personal thing. For many, it has to do with the car you drive, the sofa you have, the vacation you take, or the handbag you carry. Luxury defined by exterior values - by what you see. It's an easy, convenient definition of luxury, paid for with dollars and cents, easy to recognize in the price tag. Easy to judge in others. Easy to be jealous of, or to feel guilty about. In the last six years, I have redefined luxury for myself. It's a result of having stripped away all forms of traditional physical luxury for ourselves, and rebuilding an old house with a new sense of things. It's also a result of presenting that concept to guests and having them respond to it. This is what I think:
Luxury is having time. There is no greater luxury than time. You can possess the most amazing stuff, paying for it by working a seventy hours a week. That's about the most un-luxurious life I can imagine. It's more like being a slave to things.
Luxury is feeling content. Feeling relaxed and content is a huge luxury - one that does not come easily. The chase for nice things often leaves us feeling anxious and wanting. No matter how much we have, we feel it's not enough. To be content with who we are and what we have - to feel really good about it and that it's absolutely enough - is a true luxury.
Luxury is feeling comfortable. In your own skin. With your friends. In your environment.
As a bed and breakfast owner who claims to offer luxury, I see it that my job is to provide a person with these three things. Our guests should feel comfortable in their environment. That's why there are nice linens, big towels, beautiful bath products. That's why we choose to serve healthy, organic, home prepared foods. It's also why we spend time talking with our guests, familiarizing them with the area, making sure they feel oriented. If our guests are comfortable, they will feel content during their stay. And this gives special meaning to the time that they are here.
This is a very simplistic approach to luxury. While it's not dependent on a lot of expensive stuff, it's highly dependent on paying attention, on giving respect. It's dependent on thinking about things. On caring a great deal.
In my own personal life, I strive now to fulfill my own ideals of luxury. I want the luxury life, as I define it. One with time, comfort and contentment. Really, what could be better?
How do you define luxury? Is it a reachable lifestyle for you? I would love to hear your thoughts.